Monday, April 17, 2006

JESUS: ZOMBIE, MUMMY OR VAMPIRE?

Really. What is that guy supposed to be? The fear of crosses and bunny acolytes suggest Vampire, his home turf is more mummy-lite than Transylvanian though, but the way he sucks brains leans heavily towards Zombie. I think he might be some kind of supernatural Frankenstein—a combination of all three, and therefore: the. greatest. monster. ever.

Documentality: Watched three docs this weekend. And they were like this: Awesome. Really interesting. And, OH MY GOD! I'M SO SORRY, EYES!

Awesome: WWE: 20 Years Too Soon: The Superstar Billy Graham Story I did not watch much wrestling as a kid. I thought it was just fat old guys pretending to hit each other. It took a long time for me to appreciate what was actually taking place in the squared circle. Along with my lack of knowledge, was a belief that Superstar Billy Graham was just a bad rip-off of Hulk Hogan dressed like Jesse Ventura. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. It couldn't have been a more opposite situation. The only person Superstar ripped off wasMohammedd Ali, but what he did and who he was was so fascinating. He was a Junior Mr. Universe, track & field Olympic hopeful who became an evangelical minister and pro-football player who re-defined pro wrestling before he tried to single-handedly tear down the biggest organization in the business. He was the best there was on the mic and just watching some of his matches, it's almost like watching Opposite Day in wrestling: it's almost impossible to believe that he was supposed to be the bad guy when facing Dusty Rhodes and Bob Backlund. Graham is probably more lucid than most wrestlers interviewed and he tells his story incredibly well. Just really enjoyable.

Debbie Does Dallas: Uncovered This was a shortBritishh tv documentary in the style of the Kurt & Courtney and Biggie & Tupac docs, but a lot less sensationalistic a lot lessfocusedd on the director and less likely to stretch its material for time. If anything, I wish there was a more in-depth look at mob ties to the porn industry in the seventies, but this acted as a pretty good primer. It was also interesting to see what people thought about their experiences and the ways they've put them to rest. Pairedwithh the movie was another short doc "Diary of a Porn Virgin," following a 38-year-old woman, a 21-year-old-woman and a 21-year-old man sticking their tentative toes into the British porn industry. Pretty revealing even if it was a bit predictable to someone who has read a thing or two about the ol' in-and-outs.

I remembered when Stripped came out to fairly unanimous panning, but I was curious to see just how bad it could be. Wow. WOW. Wow,wow,wow,wow,wow,wow,wow. Here's how it bills itself:

A strip club is a world unlike any other. Go behind the scenes in that world with some of the most controversial employees around: strippers. Director Jill Morley became a stripper, and, as only an insider can, obtained full access. She set out capture this life on film by profiling other dancers and revealing the inner workings of exotic dance, getting unexpected results and, unfortunately, documented the tragic fate of some of the girls.

Jill Morley was a one-woman-show performance artist you've never heard of (unless you make a point of following those sort of things) who wasn't doing that well, so she set about 'becoming' a stripper in order to make money on the side (actually, she set about making a name for herself by sixteenth-assing a 'documentary' about a topic guaranteed to generate some publicity). You could wander some of the most sordid strip clubs in the world and not find more superficiality and exploitation than you'd find here, but that's not where the problems begin.

First of all, Morley doesn't get anything close to full access. All the women she talks to are either retired strippers or straining on their last legs. She appears to work in a place with only four other women (none of whom are Eastern European, Asian, Hispanic or African American), one senile owner and a chafuer. I'm guessing that most of the women didn't do interviews out of fear for being outed or disinterest in Morley herself, or the club she worked at caters to men with a very specific and unusual taste in women.

There's absolutely no structure to the film. Morley just lets the camera run while her friends complain, offering little insight or self-awareness. Mostly, you're just subjected to 10-15 minute ramblings of women who know their looks and appeal is fading as theyrealizee they're lacking any other skills. The same things that appealed to them about the job is what is driving them away now, but they complain about outside factors the way drug addicts do. There's also an incredibly unenlightening interview with two guys standing outside the club added as a bonus feature (unless watching two blindingly drunk guys trying to pick up a woman they think is a news reporter is somehow revelatory).

The absolute low-point in the movie occupies about 1/3 of its length. Morley and her co-workers try to badger Morley's roommate into stripping, trying every means ofcoercionn (including getting her drunk) despite the fact that she has no interest in performing and her interest diminishes exponentially the more they push her. WHAT THE FUCK? Not only is their no documentary value in such shenanigans, but Morley includes the ceaseless documentation of her attempts in order to fill up time (or possibly to reveal and revel in her own demensia).

It's a sad, sad attempt at shedding light on a misunderstood world and an even sadder attempt at self-promotion.

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